Consumer Action helps stop a bad auto loan from destroying man’s life

Consumer Action's Outreach team referred Ms. Shahan, president of CARS, to help solve a predatory loan case.
Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Erika Toriz, executive director of Haven Neighborhood Services in Los Angeles, contacted Consumer Action’ s outreach team in December to obtain guidance and referrals to help assist her client, a disabled, homeless veteran and victim of a predatory auto loan. Toriz is an active network partner; her agency uses Consumer Action publications and resources exclusively to educate consumers on savings, money management, budgeting, building and rebuilding credit, and housing.

Consumer Action advised her to contact Rosemary Shahan, president of CARS (Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety). Shahan is a long-time ally of Consumer Action and her organization has led the charge to save lives, prevent injury and protect consumers from auto-related fraud and abuse.

A predatory loan is a loan that imposes unfair or abusive loan terms on a borrower. Predatory lending also occurs when a borrower is convinced through deceptive tactics to accept a loan that they don’t need or want or can’t afford.

Shahan provided Toriz with attorney referrals to handle the predatory loan case. It soon became clear that the car salesman had overstated the borrower’s income, added a warranty without the borrower’s knowledge, convinced the borrower that a lease contract was the same as a purchase contract and never discussed the price of the vehicle with the borrower.

At this point, one of the referred attorneys spoke with Toriz’s client regarding his settlement goals and objectives. He then wrote a letter on behalf of the client to the Southern California Toyota dealership. Justice was served when the dealership bought out the client’s contract, returned all the money he’d paid and returned the client’s original trade-in vehicle.

“We are so happy that we were able to assist our network partner to advocate on behalf of her client and help him to get his life back on track,” said Audrey Perrott, Consumer Action’s associate director of outreach and training. “We’re also thankful to CARS for lending its expertise.”

Toriz has reported that her client has been able to use the $700 that he would have been paying monthly for the terrible auto loan to move into permanent housing. He is extremely grateful that he was able to recover his losses and reboot his life.




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